‘B Positive’ shines light on importance of organ donations

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A new show on CBS tells the story of a man who received a kidney from a friend, and it’s something two Birmingham women are familiar with.

“B Positive,” starring Annaleigh Ashford and Thomas Middledithc, was created by Marco Pennette, who had a kidney transplant several years ago and used his story as the basis for the show. Ann Rayburn, director of education at Legacy of Hope, believes it can have a positive impact on organ donation across the country.

“I think what encourages people to donate isn’t that there’s 1,400 people waiting in Alabama,” Rayburn said. “What encourages them is that they hear a story that they can relate to.”

Rayburn said she understands the impact organ donation can have because of her position at Legacy of Hope. The organization, formerly known as the Alabama Organ Center, connects organ donors with people in need of an organ donation. She’s also an organ donor herself.

Five years ago, Rayburn got a call from long-time friend Tess Bourge, who suffers from polycystic kidney disease. Bourge’s doctor had told her that she would soon need to either start dialysis or find a kidney donor. The waiting time on a kidney donor list would be about five years.

Rayburn decided she wanted to help.

“To me, it was just: Why wouldn’t I do that?” she said. “If I’m able, why wouldn’t I do that for her?”

Rayburn donated the kidney and Bourge never had to start dialysis.

“(It) still is amazing,” Bourge said. “I still get emotional about her. In fact I was thinking about her yesterday, because, oh man, it was a beautiful day, and I didn’t think I would have that.”

Today, they’re both doing well and hoping “B Positive” will encourage more people to consider making the same kind of decision Rayburn made.

“B Positive” airs Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on CBS 42. You can register to be an organ donor on Legacy of Hope’s website. Click here to learn more about becoming living donor.


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